Mutt's Company - Jump Ship

There are few experiences cooler than hearing a soulful rock release for the first time, music that reminds one of a beautiful intersection of loud rock & roll and something a little blues-ier, only to discover that the band in question is actually from Copenhagen, Denmark. And yet, that's exactly what happens when Mutt's Company's Jump Ship EP plays out for the first time.

Rasmus Nielsen leads this musical voyage with a slightly scratchy vocal approach that sounds a little like Robin (Cheap Trick) Zander in its best places. Even though there is a song titled "Country Song" on this six-track EP, it nor anything else is remotely country. Instead, these four musicians draw from the rich classic rock tradition to create music that sounds familiar, yet altogether new.

One of this release's best songs is titled "Count Me Out." It begins with a bit of a droning sound, which then leads into a slow, slightly jangling guitar for a little bit of a druggy ballad. Nielsen sings its words with a plodding and reflecting tone, almost as though he's thinking aloud while vocalizing it. He's resigned himself to breaking off a relationship or commitment of some sort, yet he never comes off particularly depressed. Instead, he has the assurance of one who has already made up his mind. Nevertheless, the droning undercurrent guitar part that runs through this track leaves the listener feeling slightly uneasy.

The EP song with the best title, "Bad Diet," is also the funkiest, rocking-ist inclusion in the set. It's driven by a dirty electric guitar groove that sounds a little like the Beatles, whenever they decided rock out a bit. The Beatles were never strictly a hard rock band. Nevertheless, they could rock out when they really wanted to, and selectively chose those moments when they felt they needed to prove it. "Bad Diet" is just a tad garage-y, and reveals how Mutt's Company can let loose if need be, too.

On "Winterworn," Nielsen does his best Otis Redding impression atop a quiet musical bed. The hushed sound contrasts with Nielsen's sometimes explosive, soulful singing. It has a bit of a Black Keys vibe to it, even though you wouldn't ever think to suggest Mutt's Company is saturated in the blues the way the Black Keys (and others like them) are. It's at this point, lead guitarist Jeff Jorgensen's fret work demands to be highlighted. He breaks off into a jam-y guitar section at the end that shows he knows when to have restraint, and when to let the guitar hero in his soul show.

Mutt's Company saves its best for last with the closing song, "Ghost Track." Over a spooky electric guitar part that conjures the eeriness of early Radiohead recordings, Nielsen sings scary words that include lines like, "When I'm swinging from the gallows." Obviously, although Nielsen has vocal similarities to Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, he clearly has deeper thoughts on his mind than merely wanting some chick to want him.

This band is a strange animal. While you're listening to these songs, you have in the back of your mind that they could strike like a tiger or leopard at any moment. Perhaps they hold back so much just to keep you off guard. What they've chosen to do in remaining intense but still, though, is quite good. These songs are structured and thought out, featuring likeable hooks and skilled playing. This makes Mutt's Company extremely good company.

Mutt's Company - Jump Ship

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